Bohemians apologise following late IRN BRU Cup postponement

Bohemians Football Club have released a statement following their late postponement of the IRN BRU Cup quarter-final clash with East Fife on Saturday.

Here is the statement in full;

Bohemian FC wishes to thank supporters of our own club but in particular those who travelled over from East Fife for their patience and understanding yesterday.

The timing of the announcement that the game was being called off has understandably been criticised and we wish to explain why that was made so late.

The referee inspected the Dalymount playing surface circa 1.30pm and was of the opinion that areas of the pitch were too frozen to be considered safe to be played on.

It is likely that had this been a domestic fixture, the decision to postpone the game would have been made earlier.

However, given the expense and logistics involved in East Fife officials, management, players and supporters travelling from Scotland to Dublin, the referee wanted to afford more time in the hope that the areas worst affected – those under the shade of the Jodi Stand – might thaw in the continued sunshine.

Ultimately those hopes were in vain and the decision to call off the game in the interests of player safety was the correct one. The freezing temperatures saw fixtures in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland suffer a similar fate.

Discussions between Bohemians, East Fife, the FAI and the SPFL were held about the possibility of playing the game later yesterday evening or this morning at an alternative venue to minimise travel expenses and disruption for East Fife, with both the synthetic surfaces at Abbotstown and Oriel Park mooted.

But ultimately, after an early start and a long day of travelling for East Fife, these suggestions were not considered viable. Instead both clubs and both associations will begin talks tomorrow as how best to proceed.

Lastly, Bohemians’ progression in the tournament has seen the inclusion of Irish clubs in the IRN-BRU Cup criticised in the Scottish press and the disruption to Scottish clubs’ fixtures calendar come under scrutiny.

The logistics have been challenging. But we have done our level best to be as flexible as possible. We offered to extend last season into the month of November to facilitate this tie being played then but no date was deemed suitable.

Instead we agreed to start our 2019 season two weeks earlier to host the game yesterday, weakening our chances of progression against a team who are in form and mid season.

The decision to invite Irish clubs to compete in the tournament will remain under scrutiny but as a club, we have been grateful for our inclusion despite the logistical challenges it has presented.

Our supporters have enjoyed the camaraderie of the occasions of visiting Peterhead and of hosting Sutton United in previous rounds.

These were memorable and unique days for our players and fans alike and it is of deep regret that yesterday did not provide us with yet another one.

Friendships have been formed, however. Another highlight of the spirit of this tournament saw the East Fife Marching Band donate €800 to the Bohemian Foundation, the charitable arm of our club.

We also wish to put on record the understanding of the travelling East Fife supporters who remained good-natured yesterday despite their disappointment.

Refunds were issued to fans who stayed behind. Anyone who bought tickets online will be automatically refunded.

Any Bohemians fan can also instead retain their ticket stub to use for entry at any home league game this season bar fixtures against Shamrock Rovers.

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